By Bob Fish
Getting to the airport in Ndola was easy enough, but keep in mind it’s the kind of airport where they have to fly in with enough fuel to get back out, too. It was a very hot day, and it took a special kind of resolve to get on that puddle jumper redolent with the aroma of throw-up, and no air conditioning, sitting on tarmac that could have fried an egg. There was a fair amount of nervousness about the flight, that came out as a lot of tomfoolery by us in the air. We were happy to get there.
Lusaka was a major city with much more infrastructure, and definitely a city vibe, but we were still clearly in a poorer county in Africa. Our mission in Lusaka was to meet with the Zambian Coffee Growers Association and get a chance to see the Living Hope coffee get processed. (READ: Processing the Coffee) Both were surreal but informative experiences.
The head of the Zambian Coffee Growers Association is a woman from Finland by the name of Teja Lublinkhof who also had an export business, and a roasting café called Peaberry’s. We did a cupping (READ: Teja Lublinkhof) with her at her shop, where we discovered a wonderful Ugandan coffee that might find its way to BIGGBY someday.
The hospitality was generous, the learnings were even more. This was another hard-packed day, but our reward was a much better hotel, and by better, I mean we took long, hot showers like we hadn’t had one in weeks, even though it had only been a few of days. The things we can take for granted here in the States can feel super-lux while on the road.
We had an incident with stolen money from our room though, that was a bummer, but we only had ourselves to blame, because we didn’t use the hotel safe. (READ: Safe) The hotel was right across from an urban indoor mall, and I took the opportunity to give it a whirl, and it was like any other mall that you might know, except this was the first time in my life that I knew and felt that I was a minority of the population.
Our trip was short, and mission driven (pun intended), but we were now very committed to connecting this farm with BIGGBY Nation. This Zambian coffee was excellent and improving. The Farm had a strong social sustainability model and was sensitive to the environment. We could easily see our Franchise Owners, Baristas, and Consumers appreciating the contributions they were making by selling and serving the coffee in the States and relishing the idea of building connections directly with the farmer and orphanage.
Michelle and I look forward to returning soon and bringing a Franchise Owner or Home Office person with us. Though it will be arduous, we know it will be rewarding. Another reason for returning is we sponsored a House Mother at the Orphanage and we will look forward to checking in on her and the children.